and how do I know if it is right for me?
When considering coaching either for you or as an approach for your organisation it's important to be clear about what it is that you are looking for from coaching and to understand your role in the relationship.
One of the aspects that I value most about coaching is that first and foremost it is a co-created relationship. No one coaching relationship looks the same and feels the same. The coaching relationship or alliance is designed by the coachee and the coach to serve the client's goals. It will be unique and tailored to the needs of the client.
There is a complete parity in the relationship, the coach's role is not to tell or direct the client towards the goal (in the way that mentoring can often work) and it is not to support the client to heal or recover from a crisis in the way that therapy or counselling can. It sits in the middle.
Coaching is a learning experience that is characterized by increasing self-awareness, learning and taking action toward a set of desired outcomes and goals.
So how does it work?
Typically a coaching programme will run over a number of sessions, anything between 4-8. 6 can often be the magic number with a couple of weeks between each session.
Clients come to coaching with a set of desired outcomes in mind, they want to get from A to B, from where they are today to their ideal future state. This is unique and individual to each client but this often includes areas like career progression, readiness for a promotion, delivering on their leadership vision, getting unstuck, removing obstacles to success and seeking clarity on the direction they are heading in.
The role of the coach is to use their skills of listening, enquiry, curiosity and intuition to work with their client to identify and overcome the blockers and obstacles that are in the way of achieving their goals so that ultimately they can take action and steps towards getting the results that they are looking for.
The coach will build trust and rapport with the client, ask powerful questions to enable the client to think differently and creatively and create a space that feels safe and non-judgemental for the client to explore all of their thoughts and emotions.
A well trained and experienced coach will bring to the sessions a wider variety of tools and techniques to explore with their client. Some coaches take methodologies from the world of NLP, Transactional Analysis and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.
Clients will have an opportunity to explore their values, their beliefs (both limiting and empowering), their drivers and their learning styles. Exploring these various methods and frameworks enables the client to deepen their own self-awareness, gain new insights and discover new parts of themselves. Ultimately coaching supports the client to fulfil their potential and achieve their goals.
How do you know if coaching is right for you?
Finding the right coach for you is a big part of making sure that coaching works for you.
A quality Coach will offer a free chemistry call with all prospective clients. This is the opportunity to understand their approach and style, to test the rapport between you both, and to ask yourself will the coach be able to provide the right level of challenge and support for you? There is no obligation after this call to commit, it's the perfect opportunity to get all those questions you have answered.
Coaching not only is an investment of money and time but it is also a relationship that requires both the coach and the client to be committed to it. Therefore before deciding to go ahead, make sure that you are motivated to do the work, that whilst it feels unclear how to get there you want to reach the final destination. Coachees get out of coaching what they put in.
In a nutshell, coaching is a learning process, one that supports the client to reach their desired outcomes and goals. The coach's role is to listen, to be curious, to support and provide challenges in service of their client. Coaching is not a transactional relationship or process, coaching has the potential to be transformational and has a sustained and long-term impact on the client beyond the coaching sessions.
Anna Hewitt, Founder of Steps into Strides, works with ambitious professionals who want to achieve the next step in their career with confidence and clarity. Anna works with individuals on a 1:1 basis and offers team and group coaching for organisations looking to support, nurture and grow their staff.